Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Review: The Halloween Phoenix

This weeks Phoenix issue is important for two reasons. One, it is the titles first Halloween issue, and two - the comic has now tied with The DFC's run. And with a guarenteed issue next week, The Phoenix is even more of a success! Hooray!

So, whats inside this important, fun-filled issue?

Bunny Vs Monkey is the first Halloween story (with the exception of the very short Planet of the Shapes on the Big News page), and this time Bunny, Pig and Weenie are all in the spookiest part of the woods, revealing their scariest stories! Written and drawn by the great Jamie Smart!

Neill Cameron's How to Draw Awesome Comics is all about drawing scary spookies this week! He teaches you the basics, a Vampire, Werewolf, Zombie and a Mummy, and then you can mix them up yourself! Templates for everything in this strip can be downladed from the website by clicking here - so you don't have to draw all over your comic!

Plus - there's an exciting Halloween puzzle! If you can spot all the pumpkins in the issue you can win some cracking prizes! So, what are you waiting for? Grab your copy now and get hunting!

Phoenix issue #43 is out now at all good stores for just £1.99! Happy Halloween! 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My Favourite Comic Strip!

I've read some great stories in comics since I bought my first comic many years ago, and there are many stories which have really stood out well with strong storylines and great artwork. However, my all time favourite strip dates back to an issue of The Beano from 7th September 1940. These were the war years, and in the comics of the time all the characters were fighting against the enemy - the Germans, to help Britain pull through and win the war! And it worked, without Pansy Potter, Podge, Barney Boko, Desperate Dan, Korky the Cat and Big Eggo (to name a few) on our side, how would we ever have won? The strip below is my favourite because of the fact that just five planes can lift up South Africa's Table Mountain, and just three for the Eiffel Tower - all thanks to Lord Snooty, with the help of artist Dudley Watkins! Enjoy!

Of course, this is just my opinion. What are some of your favourite strips?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Great Eagle Cutaways

Launched in 1950, Eagle comic was the brightest, shiniest comic of its time! However, one of the comics best features was the full-colour cutaways!

These cutaways were incredibly drawn, and an exciting form of education The artists, who almost always signed their work, would draw a new or intresting invention, then cutaway the top layer to reveal what was inside and how it all worked!

Unfortunatly, when Odhams bought Eagle in 1959, some of the cutaways lost their glorious full colour that had always made them stand out. Without the full colour the pages just didn't have the same effect on readers, and would never look as awesome as they could.

An early Odhams one, from March 1960.

In 2008 a book of some of the most beautiful cutaways was collected, and can be bought here on Amazon for just over £10!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Freaky Farm

Freaky Farm began in Monster Fun in issue 40 dated 13th March 1976. This post is here because last Monday I wrote a post about a Monster Fun comic that appeared 36 years ago this week (you can read it here), and I didn't know who the artist was. 

Anyway, enjoy the strips!

From issue 40.

From issue 46.

From issue 49.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Buster on Tornado Street

In an early Buster comic Buster walked over from the front page and onto the second page, to the final panel of The Terrors of Tornado Street. The Terrors had begun back in issue one, and were very popular with readers. Every week, somebody in the final panel would say: "What's the use? It's safer to let them play!
Buster on walkabouts!

In issue dated 20th August 1960, he joined the Terrors! However, instead of an adult saying the famous line, it was the only time the Terrors themselves said it!

Unfortunatly my copy is missing part of the first panel.

Artist Martz Schmidt did a great job with the rough characters! Here are a few more early examples (the later strips were just half a page and were pretty much just one big picture with lots of things going on).

In 1994, as a celebration of 34 years of Buster comic, Lew Stringer sent Tom Thug to Tornado street, where he met the Terrors for himself! Unfortunatly, the final panel was missing the classic line!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Beano and Dandy Halloween

As well as the Phoenix halloween special, The Beano and Dandy have another issue each, both which are out now! Both cost £1.50, and feature great strips  by top artists such as Andy Fanton, Nigel Parkinson, Stu Munro and Jamie Smart!

And be extra sure not to miss the Dandy one - as it'll be the last printed Halloween special! What a scary thought! (Pun intended!)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The First Halloween Phoenix!

Its almost Halloween and the cover of the first ever Halloween Phoenix comic has been revealed over on the facebook page! You can find all the scary stories inside when it is released this weekend!

This is definatly not a comic you'd want to miss!

This Weeks Phoenix - No. 42!

Phoenix No. 42 is out now, and as usual is full of awesomeness! Here are just a few of the strips inside!

Adam Murphy interviews Britains longest reigning monarch - Queen Victoria, ina two-page Corpse Talk. As usual, this strip is both intresting and entertaining!

Troy Trailblazer is on the hunt for another mystical treasure - a stone! But not just any stone, a stone that can create and destroy the universe! Well, actually - he's not looking for it just yet, but I'm not going to reveal what happens in the story!

My favourite Phoenix strip right from the comics birth was James Turner's Star Cat! Carrying on from last week when Plixx destroyed the universe with a cake, this story is definatly the randomest in the comic!

So make sure you grab a copy now - only £2.99 from any Waitrose and various comic stores! Go on - you know you want to!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Final Frankie

A long, long time ago (May, to be precise), I wrote a blog post on the final ever Whoopee comic. Andy Boal commented, asking how Frankie Stein ended - but to tell the truth, our loveable lunk didn't actually end. Maybe they were going to continue the character in a different comic, after all - he was one of the most popular characters created by IPC, and is up there in the list of the all time populars in British comics!

So, here it is - that last episode of the freaky, yet funny, Frankie. Originally drawn by Ken Reid, this final episode is drawn by Robert Nixon.

Read the first ever Frankie Stein strip by Ken Reid:

A Closer Look - Tom Paterson's Buster

This issue of Buster from 1986 has a truly amazing cover story. Not so much the story itself (which is about Mum getting fed up of Sqworm), but all the detail that artist Tom Paterson has put into every single box!

Here is the entire story frame by frame so you can really see everything that Tom has crammed in!

Tom is one of my all time favourite artists - and this story is just a great example of why that is!

Monday, October 22, 2012

This Week In... 1976 - Monster Fun!

This week 36 years ago saw the last but one issue of Monster Fun land on the shelves! By the end of the comics run Gums was the cover star, a comical rip-off of the box office hit Jaws in 1975. Unlike a lot of comics where th efront cover story ended on the back cover, Gums continues over the page inside the comic.

Of course, the reason for this was because the back cover was given to an advertisement fot TerborLand, which were various toys you could get for free - providing you had enough Trebor bar wrappers of course!

Ken Reid was incredible at drawing monsters, so of course an entire comic about them was right up his street (although admittedly, nothing ever matched his art for the Power comics)! His contribution to Monster Fun was Martha's Monster Make-Up. This make up would turn anything it touched into a living fiend! Well, everything except the jar it was kept in and Martha's finger to flick it with!

Just because Monster Fun was ending didn't mean that Fleetway's comic industry was going with it, as the bottom advert for an early Krazy issue proves!

Robert Nixon no longer drew Gums for the front cover, but he did draw Kid Kong, a strip about a giant gorilla with an everlasting hunger for bananas!

A lot of the strips that appeared in Monster Fun managed to survive the merge into Buster, but one that didn't was Barrie Appleby's Freaky Farm. This particular episode however, was illustrated by Les Barton (Cheers Andy!).

Monster Fun folded after just 73 issues, barely a year after it had first started in 1975. Not only did it feature some of the weirdest characters ever to appear in a comic, but it involved some of the best cartoonists as well, with Leo Baxendale's final weekly work appearing within its pages.